Accidental Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens: 5 Reasons Why You Must Report It

When you deal with needles and sharp instruments every day, even a small mistake on your part may cause accidents. For example, there are thousands of accidental needle pricksthat go unreported. Needle pricks are dangerous as they can cause exposure to bloodborne pathogens that are a threat to your health, especially, if they have been used earlier on a person carrying the pathogens.

Somehow, these victims are fearful of the consequences of their employers knowing. Others are ashamed of their carelessness that caused the accident. Whatever the case, it is most essential that you report any needle accidents as the blood you may be dealing with may be infected.

Here are four reasons to report an exposure to bloodborne pathogens due to needle pricks:

• The earlier the incident is reported the better the chances of you not contracting a bloodborne disease. Once the incident is reported, adequate measures can be taken to help you. In your health care profession, one can never be too careful. Though it is quite rare that needle accidents cause bloodborne diseases, there have been a number of cases in the past.

• The kind of needle that caused the accident is very important. A hollow needle can result in exposure to bloodborne pathogens rather than a solid needle. How deep the needle pierced into your body is also a deciding factor for contracting the pathogen. Needle accidents are more likely to cause Hepatitis than HIV. All these factors can only be considered when you report the accident.

• There is treatment provided for victims of needle accidents to ensure they do not contract the pathogens. There is a time frame within which you must start your precautionary treatment for it to have an effect. If it’s a deadly pathogen you may not even have a few hours to get treatment.

• There is absolutely no reason to be ashamed of a needle accident in the workplace. Your health care organization cannot fire you. Once reported, the anti-viral treatment you receive can considerably slow the progress of the bloodborne disease even if you were exposed. By coming forward you not only protect your health but also all those around you.

• When you accidentally prick yourself with a contaminated needle, check if you can see some blood on the needle. If yes, there is a greater chance of you contracting the pathogen. Also, the depth of the wound is an important factor that contributes to exposure. A deep wound is more dangerous than a shallow one.

All these factors come down to one important point, which is, how long after the incident you actually report it. The faster you report the accident, the lesser the chances of you contracting a deadly disease. When handling contaminated blood and sharp instruments, you must be extra careful to follow all the precautionary measures. However, sometimes you can be very careful and accidents still occur. Don’t beat yourself about it. Go report the accident and get your treatment as it can be a matter of life and death.